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Aggregate company under fire for shoreline collapses


April 18, 2022
By Dave Battagello / Windsor Star

Detroit Bulk Storage, the aggregate company responsible for a pair of Detroit River shoreline collapses, is being sued by the property’s owner and facing a barrage of violation orders from the city.

An affiliate under the Erickson Group known as Revere Dock, which owns the riverfront property in Detroit, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court a few weeks ago which seeks to recoup financial damages caused by the collapse, subsequent enforcement actions and restoration of the property.

The site a couple kilometres west of the Ambassador Bridge was initially ripped open and exposed to the river when Detroit Bulk stored an overabundance of limestone on the site and it collapsed on Nov. 26, 2019.

Environmental concerns were triggered because the riverfront site was formerly home to Revere Copper which for decades dating back to the 1940s produced uranium-based products. The property was also later used as a toxic dumping ground — after Revere Copper abandoned the site in the 1980s — with known materials buried in the ground including PCBs, arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene and other materials.

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“The property has been in heavy industrial use for over a century and DBS knew or should have known that the earthen material under the aggregate pile contained hazardous substances,” said the court complaint filed by Revere Dock. “Plaintiffs have incurred significant costs as a result of the collapse.”

On the Canadian side, the company has riverfront aggregate storage locations on the city’s west end near the site of the planned Gordie Howe bridge and on the east end next to Sandpoint Beach. The company also lists aggregate locations in Kingsville, Sarnia and Sombra.

Under the terms of the lease signed by Detroit Bulk with Revere Dock for the riverfront site in Detroit, the aggregate company agreed not to create a nuisance and abide by all federal, county and municipal laws, according to the court claim. Violation fines issued by the state alone related to the initial collapse were listed as totalling US$65,000.

Revere Dock also agreed to pay the city of Detroit after being sued an undisclosed sum under an agreement reached in Wayne County Court.

Revere Dock also incurred “significant costs” in responding to the collapse and full restoration it is also seeking to recoup from Detroit Bulk, according to the court claim.

The initial controversy didn’t stop Detroit Bulk from resuming business on the site leading to a second shoreline collapse last November — almost two years later to the day of the initial collapse — when once again an overabundance of limestone caused the shoreline to sink and collapse into a boat slip on the western edge of the property.

(Windsor Star)